Keep reading for today’s look at #OpenGov news, events, and analysis, including the creation of the United States Digital Service, Bahrain’s government’s surveillance of activists and opposition politicians, and a DOJ report uncovering systemic abuses at New York City’s Rikers Island jail.
- As the FCC considers the proposed Comcast-Time Warner merger, the two companies have shelled out over $130,000 to sponsor the Walter Kaitz Foundation’s annual dinner, at which top-ranking FCC official Mignon Clyburn will receive an award. The Kaitz Foundation supports diversity in the cable industry, and has received funds from both companies in the past. (Politico)
- In response to a FOIA request from the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Director of National Intelligence has declassified and released several court documents, including a scathing opinion from Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge John Bates that found that the NSA had engaged in “systemic overcollection” of Internet metadata and other private online communications. (Wall Street Journal)
- The White House announced the creation of the United States Digital Service yesterday. Led by Mikey Dickerson, who left Google to lead the Healthcare.gov overhaul last year, the Digital Service will be tasked with improving user experience on government websites and oversee upgrades to the government’s web technology. (New York Times)
- Leadership from both parties on the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committees have signed a letter to OMB Director Shaun Donovan expressing concerns over the access of Inspectors General to agency information critical to their oversight work. Forty-seven IGs signed a letter last week noting difficulty in accessing materials within their respective agencies. (FierceGovernment)
- Documents leaked from UK-based surveillance software company Gamma International reveals that the government of Bahrain may have used the company’s FinFisher technology to spy on Bahraini citizens. Among the targets include members of an independent fact-finding commission on extrajudicial killings, opposition politicians and human rights activists. (Global Voices)
- Gujurat’s government has denied a Right to Information request made for access to information about the assets and liabilities of the state’s chief minister and council of ministers, claiming that such information is not in the general public interest. (Times of India)
- As Ghana prepares for its elections, social watchdog Odekro and Code for Africa have teamed up to provide the open data-powered GoToVote election platform, a website that provides information about polling places, required documentation, and voter eligibility. (VentureBurn)
State and Local News
- A report issued by the DOJ details pervasive staff violence directed at adolescent inmates kept at New York City’s jail on Rikers Island. The report noted “rampant use of excessive and unnecessary force” by staff and noted that inmates were not adequately protected from violence perpetrated by other inmates or by the facility’s staff. (Techdirt)
- Emergency medical services in Wake County, North Carolina have used health data analysis to improve cardiac arrest survival rates. Preliminary results suggest that longer periods of CPR in some cases can improve medical outcomes. (GovExec)
- Rep. Colleen Hanabusa is alleging elections irregularities in the Democratic Senate primary in precincts across Hawaii that are still recovering from last week’s tropical storm. The race between Hanabusa and incumbent Brian Schatz is still too close to call, and two precincts with nearly 8,200 voters have not voted yet because of ongoing cleanup efforts. (Politico)
- Former Queens Democratic district leader and City Council candidate Albert Baldeo has been convicted of seven counts of obstruction of justice. Baldeo lied and instructed others to lie about the origin of campaign contributions for his 2010 campaign. (Washington Times)
- Foundations and Innovations in Archives. “Archives-Records: Ensuring Access” Conference. Tues., 8/12. 9:00 AM. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, 2660 Woodley Road NW, Washington, D.C.
- Veterans and Their Smartphones: Creating a 21st-Century Veterans Service System. American Enterprise Institute. Tues., 8/12. 12:00 PM. 1150 17th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
- The Launch of DemTools: Open Source for Opening Politics. National Democratic Institute. Tues., 8/12. 4:00 PM. 455 Massachusetts Avenue NW, 8th Floor Washington, D.C.
- Africa Development Forum Event: A New Strategy for Civil Society Development for Africa. Society for International Development. Weds., 8/13. 12:00 PM. 1155 15th Street NW, 7th Floor, Washington, D.C.
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